Throughout the coronavirus crisis, domestic workers have been placed under double pressure. Already underpaid, many domestic workers have lost their jobs, or lost hours on the job, putting them under added financial stress. Even when on the job, however, domestic workers find themselves under added physical and psychological stress, acting as essential workers during a pandemic at some risk to their own health as they protect the health of others. Domestic workers include house cleaners, nannies, and home care aides who care for people with disabilities or who are elderly or infirm.
In the year since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in New Hampshire, hardships facing Granite Staters have been caused by both public health risks as well as the economic crisis spurred by sudden shifts in the labor market and available jobs. While many of the most severe effects of the COVID-19 crisis have subsided, levels and the composition of employment have not yet returned to the pre-pandemic status. Additionally, many of those most impacted by the effects of the COVID-19 crisis may have been among the least prepared to weather the economic shock due to the uneven nature of the recovery from the last recession.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed many Californians and Americans to unprecedented economic instability, but many women in California were already struggling to pay the bills prior to the onset of the economic crisis. According to the California Women’s Well-Being Index, in a five-year period leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic, many women across the state were experiencing economic hardship — and this was happening during the longest period of economic growth on record. California women faced a significant wage gap, and women were more likely than men to earn low wages and to live in poverty. Pre-pandemic hardship and lack of economic security was particularly acute for American Indian, Black, Latinx, and Pacific Islander women in California.
The COVID-19 pandemic has uprooted much of life as we know it and it also has preyed upon the worst of our pre-existing conditions. A year of COVID and its negative effects have not been evenly felt, both in health and economic terms. The cracks in Colorado’s public funding and economic system were fully exposed and the workers who make our communities function were pushed beyond their limits.